A society is defined as men (human beings) in interdependence. Men in interdependence therefore may be taken as the subject matter of sociology. From this definition, it can be inferred that sociologists study the group that man forms in his association with others. These groups include: families, tribes, communities and government. They are studied along with a variety of social, religious, political, and other organizations. Sociologists study their behaviour and interaction, trace their origin and growth, and analyse the influence of group activities on individual members.
Sociology is generally regarded as being a branch of the social sciences as its name implies this group of subjects attempt to bring scientific attitude to bear upon various aspects of social life. This is not the way most people view the society (even if they are physical or biological scientists). The political revolutionist wants to overthrow the society, the reformer wants to change it; the evangelist want to save it. The viewpoint of the sociologist is basically that of curiosity. He wants to find out what a particular society (or part of it) is like. . 2 The Meaning of Society Society can be defined as the largest group of people inhabiting a specific territory. The people in a society share a common culture as a result of interacting on regular, continuous basis, and as a result of interacting according to patterns of behaviour on which all, more of less agree. This definition of society stresses social relationships or interaction, rather than individuals. Society differs from many other kinds of groups because within this group people can live a total, common life.
Society is not an organization limited to a specific purpose 2 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY as, for example Nigerian Medical Association or Nigerian Society of Engineers. It is the most self-sufficient group, and its independence is based on the techniques developed for fulfilling the needs of its members. Sociologically, society is the interrelated network of social relationships that exists within the boundaries of the largest social system. In the past, the largest social system was a clan, a tribe, or simply a family. Today, the largest social system is the nation-state.
In a nation-state, individuals are grouped and interrelated as families, communities, racial and ethnic groups, political parties, social classes, and so on. When we speak of Nigerian society, we are referring to 140 million individuals (grouped in families, communities, and countless other classifications) who inhabit Nigeria, and whose social relationships occur within its boundaries. Every society organizes representative groups and positions to which it gives power of making decisions and settling conflicts. Each society requires that its members feel greater loyalty to it than any other group.
Such loyalty is possible partly because the members share a language and a culture uniquely their own. 3. 3 Why is there Society? To answer this question, we must start with two basic observations about the nature of individuals: • At birth the human organism is helpless to meet his own needs. Others must protect and care for it or it will die. Also it needs others from whom it can learn how to do things necessary to live. Human life can be sustained only if the slowly growing human organism is cared for, while it learns how to do things necessary to take care of itself.
The human organism is not genetically programmed (that is its specific behaviour is not provided by some set of inherited instincts. Instead, all human beings must go through a prolonged complex learning process. We become human by this learning process, and this in turn, requires persistent association with other human beings. • The consequences which flow from these assumptions are fundamental to an understanding of why there is society. i. Human beings have had to work out for themselves ways to survive.
Possessing no instinctive knowledge and skills, human beings have learned from experience, have developed useful 3 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY ii. skills, and have made tools and constructed shelter from whatever materials the environment made available. Human survival can only be accomplished if human beings act collectively. Cooperation can accomplish things no one person could manage alone. From the earliest period of human existence, providing food and shelter, while also bringing into being new generation, taking care of it and teaching it what to know, required that individuals cooperate with one another.
They had to develop some organized way to see that what needed to be done got done. Some tasks need to be shared, some to be divided among different persons. From this perspective, human society is the outcome of collective adaptation to a natural environment, a process of finding how to live cooperatively in such a way as to make nature yield enough to sustain life. By cooperative activity among human being learning from one another, skills are acquired, knowledge is accumulated, techniques, and tools are developed; and all are transmitted to the next generation.
Human life must have been carried on in social groups, however small or simple, from the very beginning of human existence. 4. 0 CONCLUSION The derivation of the term ‘Sociology’ from both Latin and Greek was explained in this unit. More importantly, the role of Auguste Comte who first the term in 1838 was mentioned. Society which forms the subject matter of Sociology was described. The importance of society to the survival of man was also presented. 5. 0 SUMMARY In this unit, the essential components of Sociology were explained. It relationship with other social sciences was introduced.
The curiosity of Sociology to systematically study the society was emphasized. This unit showed that man cannot survive without the society. 6. 0 1. 2. 3. TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT Define Sociology Explain the meaning of Sociology Why is the society important? 4 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 7. 0 REFERENCES/FUTHER READINGS Giddens, A. and M. Duneier (2000): Introduction to Sociology. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc Igbo, M. E. (2003): Basic Sociology. Enugu, CIDJAP Press Olurode, L. and O. Soyombo (2003 ed. ): Sociology for Beginers. Lagos, John West Publications. CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 6 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY UNIT 2 SOCIETY, NATURE AND INDIVIDUALS CONTENTS 1. 0 2. 0 3. 0 Introduction Objectives Main Content 3. 1 Society and Nature 3. 2 Society and Individual 3. 3 The reality of Society Conclusion Summary Tutor Marked Assignment References/Further Readings 4. 0 5. 0 6. 0 7. 0 1. 0 INTRODUCTION Man-nature interaction as resulted in the invention and discoveries of resources which promote human quality of life. However, society and social organization did not remain simple for all times.
Technology made many things feasible and achievable. From all indications, society, nature and individual are inseparable. Man must maintain the physical environment and organize the society for his own welfare. This unit explains in detail the interdependence between man, nature and society. 2. 0 OBJECTIVES On completion of this unit, the learner should be able to: • • • Explain the relationship between society and nature Describe how society sustain man and The reality of society from the diverse experiences of man 3. 0 3. 1 MAIN CONTENT Society and Nature
Through modern technology, humans are able to harness and control the forces of nature in many ways. We mine the earth for coal and minerals, extract gas and oil from deep within the ground, change the course of rivers and dam them to create great bodies of water, change arid land into fertile soil by irrigation, domesticate wildlife, and in so many ways turn the natural environment to our own use. 7 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY Despite these, there is a necessity for us to live some kind of sensible relation with nature, and for society to strive a balance with nature.
Otherwise, the destruction of nature will be the destruction of society. 3. 2 Society and the Individual The more technology makes possible a society that places us comfortably back from the edge of survival, the more we are individually dependent upon the complex social organization needed to sustain life at new levels of material living. As individuals, we may worry less about collective survival, more about our own individual fate. Even then we are forced to recognize that our personal destiny, for good or bad, is thoroughly tied into the social organization of our society.
Furthermore, complex changes in society that we only dimly recognize, let alone understand, may alter the pattern of our own lives and force on us new decisions and choices. 3. 3 The Reality of Society We often experience society as a separate and independent reality which creates us and then persistently controls and constrains us. While it is useful to view society this way, we must be careful not to let this conception (of society as a separate reality) be carried to the point of detaching it from human activity and its social nature. Society does not exist without individuals through whose actions it is carried on.
Society and person, then, are “interdependent”, neither exists without the other. Because modern society is a vast and complex process, we can easily lose our recognition of the fact that society does not exist without individuals whose activity it is carried on. Because the origins of society are far back in time, we can miss the point that society was humanly created. Because, as individuals we feel helpless before daily demands on our time and energy, and powerless to effect any change, we give little recognition to the fact that it is also human efforts, collective and organized that society changes. . 0 CONCLUSION By necessity, man must relate to nature for resources to aid survival. In the same vein, man’s destiny is tied to the social organization of the society. As man changed progressively by the society, he also changes his society unconsciously by some of his actions. 8 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 5. 0 SUMMARY In this unit, emphasis has been placed on society and nature, society and individual and the reality of the society. The origin of society is presented has been very far, but with emphasis that it is humanly created. 6. 0 1. 2. 3. TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT
Explain how man harnessed the forces of nature for his own use Explain the interdependence of society and individuals Explain four issues that may represent the reality of Sociology 7. 0 REFERENCES/FUTHER READINGS Igbo, M. E. (2003): Basic Sociology. Enugu, CIDJAP Press Olurode, L. and O. Soyombo (2003 ed. ): Sociology for Beginers. Lagos, John West Publications. Otite, O. and W. Ogionwo (2003): An Introduction to Sociological Studies. Ibadan, Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria) Plc. 9 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY UNIT 3 CONTENTS 1. 0 2. 0 3. 0 SOCIOLOGY AND HUMAN SOCIETY . 0 5. 0 6. 0 7. 0 Introduction Objectives Main Content 3. 1 Sociology: The Study of Society 3. 2 Classification of Society by Social Organization 3. 3 Specifics of Sociological study of Society Conclusion Summary References/Further Readings Tutor Marked Assignment 1. 0 INTRODUCTION Sociology as a discipline has developed reliable knowledge about relationship within the society. Though relatively a young discipline compared to other long established course, Sociology has distinctively carved out her subject matter at highly generalized and abstract levels.
Sociological classification of society has produced them in different forms by social organizations. The Sociological points of view of society are clearly laid out in this unit. 2. 0 OBJECTIVES On completion of this unit, the learner should be able to: • • • Explain the goal of Sociology viz-a-viz other sciences of human interaction Classify society by social organization Highlight the relevant points in sociological view of the society 3. 0 3. 1 MAIN CONTENT Sociology: The Study of Society Studying society can hardly be claimed to be anything new.
Yet, sociology as a discipline goes back in name and identity to early decades of the nineteenth century. Sociology grew at a time of new and creative social though that transformed and modernized all of the society sciences. It has been defined as scientific study of human social behaviour, or as the science 10 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY of human interaction, or as the study of society. The goals of sociology resemble the goals of most other sciences: the discovery of facts, the explanation of facts, and causes of human behaviour, and ultimately the prediction of behaviour. . 2 Classification of Society by Social Organization Throughout history, societies have assumed a number of different forms. For the purpose of analysis, societies are generally classified according to either their chief mode of subsistence (the way they provide their members with food, shelter and clothing). The most common of these societies are listed below: i. The Hunting and Gathering Society. This the earliest and least complex society formed by people thousands of years ago. This kind of society is characterized by: (a) (b) (c) ii. small nomadic population, with an uncomplicated technology. almost no division of labour or any kind of specialization, and particular stress on the importance of kinship ties. The Horticultural Society: This is the second simplest society which appeared in history after people discovered how to cultivate grains. In this society, the cultivation of wheat, rice and other grains was the chief means of sustenance. Hunting and gathering were secondary. In this kind of society, domestic materials first appeared, and tools were more sophisticated than those of hunters and food gatherers.
The horticultural society contained reasonably large, settled communities, developed the basics of trade; and produced for the first time, a surplus that had the consequences of dividing members of the society into social classes. The production of surpluses, or extra supplies of food, laid the foundation for social inequality, a condition that has existed in all later societies. Surpluses eventually led to a situation in which some people were rich and others poor, some led and others followed, and so on. iii.
The Agrarian Society: This next milestone in the development of human societies was reached around 3,000 B. C. , following the invention of plow. The plow led to the formation of the agrarian society. In this type of society, even greater surpluses were produced, and people no longer had to move about to search for fertile soils. People became more differentiated into land holders 11 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY and landless peasants, and social stratification deepened. To maintain the system and to oversee the increasingly complex economy, members of the society developed a bureaucracy.
The agrarian society also developed the initial stages of a money economy, gunpowder, iron smelting, and the use of windmills as a source of power. iv. Other Preindustrial and Industrial Societies: Other preindustrial societies are fishing, maritime, and herding societies. All exhibit features that are similar to those of agrarian societies. The revolutionary change in the form of societies occurred with the emergence of the industrial society. Most societies in the world today are either industrialized or are trying to attain industrial stage.
Such societies are characterized by (a) (b) (c) (d) Urbanization (growth of cities at the expense of rural areas). Massive mechanization and automation (the substitution of machines for human labour and the human brain). Complex bureaucratization (organization into formal groups for greater efficiency). separation of institutional forms (the development of schools, hospitals, stores, factories to perform functions formerly performed by the family). the substitution of impersonal ties for kinship ties. (e) 3. 3 Specifics of Sociological Study of Society
It is pertinent to emphasize a number of relevant points in sociological view of the society. (a) Sociology is morally neutral: It is not the task of sociologist to say whether a pattern of behaviour or an organization is right or wrong, good or bad. It is his/her task to find out what the behaviour or the organization consist of, to explain how it comes about and to demonstrate its consequence. Emphasis is not placed on individual people: The sociologist places emphasis on social relationships and these are by no means exhausted by relationships between people.
Sociology is in fact more concerned with the relationships between the major parts of societies. It is an assumption of sociology that relationships between people, group of people and social institutions do change 12 (b) (c) CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY periodically: There are regularities in the social life of mankind. The search for these regularities and their description and explanation (is one of the major tasks of the sociologist). (d) The way in which sociologists go about their tasks is, in one respect, very similar to the activities of physical scientists, i. e. ombination of observation and formulation of theory. 4. 0 CONCLUSION Though studying of society is not the only preserve of Sociology, it has adopted perspectives and points of view which make it effort peculiar or unique. Through the classification of society by social organization type, Sociology has contributed to a better understanding of the development of the society it simplest to the present complex form. 5. 0 SUMMARY In this unit, efforts have been made to present Sociology as a systematic science of human society. Furthermore, the society has been classified along developmental lines.
Lastly, the specifics of sociological study of society has given the discipline a clear focus of it subject matter. 6. 0 1. 2. 3. TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT Explain the difference between the hunting and gathering from the horticultural society. Highlight the characteristics of pre-industrial and industrial societies. Explain two of the specifics of sociological study of society. 7. 0 REFERENCES / FURTHER READINGS Heinslin, J. M. (2000). Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. Boston. Allyn and Bacon. Igbo, M. E. (2003): Basic Sociology. Enugu, CIDJAP Press Macionis, J. J. (2000). Society The Basics.
London Prentice-Hall International Ltd. Schaefar, R. T. (2004). Sociology: A Brief Introduction. Boston. McGraw-Hill. 13 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY UNIT 4 CONTENTS 1. 0 2. 0 3. 0 ORIGIN AND SOCIOLOGY DEVELOPMENT OF 4. 0 5. 0 6. 0 7. 0 Introduction Objectives Main Content 3. 1 The Origins of Sociology 3. 2 Development within Sociology 3. 3 Factors that Influenced the Expansion of Sociology Conclusion Summary Tutor Marked Assignment References/Further Readings 1. 0 INTRODUCTION In a strict technical sense, Sociology began in the philosophy of Auguste Comte, since nobody before his time had used this word.
On the other hand, the interest in the discussion and study of society appeared much earlier in history. It is therefore possible to have a realistic understanding of the origin of Sociology if we see the discipline as the product of a larger intellectual movement which may be called social thought. This unit examines the development within Sociology and the factors that influence the expansion of Sociology. 2. 0 OBJECTIVES On completion of this unit, the learner should be able to: • • • Explain the origin of Sociology Highlight the developments within Sociology Describe the factors that influence the expansion of Sociology. . 0 3. 1 MAIN CONTENT The Origin of Sociology Like the choices made by individuals, major historical events rarely “just happen”. So it was that the birth of sociology resulted from powerful and complex social forces. Although humans have mused about society since the beginning of history, sociology is among the youngest academic disciplines – far 14 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY newer than history, physics, or economics. Only in 1838 did the French social thinker Auguste Comte (1798-1857) coin the term “sociology” to describe the new way of looking at the world. . 2 Developments within Sociology Sociology is a discipline area within distinct historical intellectual and social contexts, and that it is the product of a particular era in particular societies. Major questions about the individual and society have pre-occupied thinkers in all periods of history; the philosophers of Ancient Greek and Rome reflected upon the way society operated and/or should operate. Centuries afterwards social and political theorists and philosophers applied themselves to similar question.
But these philosophical analyses of society were essentially based on speculations, on dubious and untested assumptions about the motives of human beings in their behaviour and on undisciplined theorizing, and they lacked systematic analysis of the structure and workings of societies. Philosophers and thinkers frequently constructed grand models and schemes about humans and their societies without looking at how societies actually worked. However, from the 18th century onwards in Western Europe, important changes took place in perspectives on and understanding of society and individual’s place in it.
Many considerable advances were taking place in scientific discovery with regard to the structure and composition of the physical world surrounding human beings, and with regard to the physical nature and make-up of human beings themselves. The natural sciences though at its infancy were beginning to develop systematic methods for studying the physical world and the individuals part in (and relation to) it. They were being increasingly recognized and valued for providing certain knowledge.
Alongside these developments there were also extensive social, economic and political changes which had and were to have profound effects on societies in Western Europe and elsewhere (Industrial and French Revolutions). Scientific and technological advances laid the foundation for the transformation from predominantly rural, agricultural, ‘manual’ way of life to an urban industrial, ‘mechanized’ pattern of living. How inventions and developments in methods of production, transport, etc. changed the scale and location of production at work from the land and small enterprises to the town and city and large-scale enterprises to like factories.
A greater variety of occupations emerged. 15 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY These extensive changes in response to process of industrialization resulted into a major paradox, in that they brought a ‘new society with greater productive potential and more complicated ways of living while at the same time generating extensive disruptions in rational pattern of life and relationships; as well as creating new material problems of overcrowded and unpleasant urban conditions, poverty and unemployment.
Sociology as a distinct discipline emerged against the background of these intellectuals, and material changes in the second half of the nineteenth (19th) century. The early sociologists were greatly influenced by the changes in patterns of life which they saw going on around them as industrialization proceeded and they were often deeply disturbed by what they saw. It is certain that early sociologists were not intense ‘radical’ individuals but they could accurately be labeled as ‘conservatives’ made uneasy by the changes they were observing in society.
They were greatly concerned with the idea of obtaining exact knowledge of the working of society, and living in a period when the natural sciences were making great contribution to knowledge, felt that the application of natural science methods to the study of society might produce similar advance in understanding. Thus, from the very beginning, there was a great emphasis on the need to analyze social life scientifically. Auguste Comte, the so-called ‘founder’ of sociology stressed the adoption of a scientific method of analyzing society so that we might improve through a thorough understanding of it.
Summed up in his famous phrase: “To know, to predict and to control” This early emphasis on the scientific analysis of social life was to have (and still has) considerable implications for the subsequent development of the discipline. Although, the beginning of sociology has been located in Western Europe in the second half of the 19th century, its development and acceptance as an academic discipline was not a uniform and uncomplicated process. Sociology became firmly established in France and Germany earlier than in Britain.
The early classical works in sociology of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was produced in France and Germany; with Emile Durkheim in France and Karl Marx Weber in Germany as the outstanding figures. Sociology developed markedly in the USA too and received more widespread acceptance there than in Britain because USA early in 20th century had a great deal of sociological material, (with industrialization, 16 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY migration, and organization taking place).
As an established discipline, however, Sociology is a relatively new arrival on the academic scene, and the real expansion in its popularity has occurred after the first and second world wars. 3. 3 i. Factors that Influenced the Expansion of Sociology In the post-war period there has developed a rather more critical awareness of how societies operate. Fewer people simply sit back and accept their societies unthinkingly. They saw overpopulation, poverty and crime in spite of great industrialization.
Alongside this, there has developed an increasing concern with social reform and the re-ordering of society, accompanied by the belief that in order to make such reforms effective and soundly based, knowledge about society and its members is needed. There has also developed an increasing awareness of other societies and ways of life as a result of better systems of communication, travel and mass media. It is held those people who work in government, industry, the social services, etc. ought to have some sort of specialist knowledge of society on the grounds that they will be better equipped to meet the demand of their work. ii. iii. iv. 4. 0 CONCLUSION Although many speculative thinkers have thought about the human society, however, it was Auguste Comte who first used the word ‘Sociology’. The achievements in the natural sciences and other extensive changes created enough problems that called for the systematic study of man in society. It scientific posture captured in the phrase ‘to know, to predict and to control’ gave Sociology a unique place in the social sciences.
Sociology had since then developed and expanded due to some prevailing factors. 5. 0 SUMMARY In this unit due attention had been given to the origin and development of Sociology. Distinctions were also made between Sociology and natural on one hand and other sciences on the other hand. Inspite of it short history of existence, Sociology has advanced the frontier of knowledge in the scientific study of society. 17 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 6. 0 1. 2. 3. TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT Explain the uniqueness of the phrase ‘to know, to predict and to control’ to Sociological development.
Highlight the factors that influence the expansion of Sociology Explain the roles of ancient philosophers in the study of the society before 1838. 7. 0 REFERENCES/ FUTHER READINGS Giddens, A. and M. Duneier (2000): Introduction to Sociology. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc Igbo, M. E. (2003): Basic Sociology. Enugu, CIDJAP Press Olurode, L. and O. Soyombo (2003 ed. ): Sociology for Beginers. Lagos, John West Publications. Otite, O. and W. Ogionwo (2003): An Introduction to Sociological Studies. Ibadan, Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria) Plc. 18 CHS 217
INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY UNIT 5 THE SUBJECT MATTER OF SOCIOLOGY CONTENTS 1. 0 2. 0 3. 0 Introduction Objectives Main Content 3. 1 Approaches to Subject Matter 3. 2 The Historical Approach 3. 3 The Empirical Approach 3. 4 The Analytical Approach 3. 5 A General Outline of the Subject Matter Conclusion Summary Tutor Marked Assignment References/Further Readings 4. 0 5. 0 7. 0 6. 0 1. 0 INTRODUCTION In order to have a clear perspective of its subject matter, Sociology adopted different methods. By this, what a method or approach fails to capture is properly presented in another.
This eclectic approach gave Sociology a rich scientific tradition by which the ever-changing society – man interaction can be appropriately conceptualized. In this unit, emphasis is placed on three of such known methods. 2. 0 OBJECTIVES On completion of this unit, the learner should be able to identify and describe: • • • The different methods adopted by sociologists in the study of human society; The differences between each of the methods used by Sociologists; The general outline and groupings 3. 0 3. 1 MAIN CONTENT Approaches to the Subject Matter
There are three approaches in mapping out the subject matter of sociology. 19 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 3. 2 The Historical Approach Through this we seek through study of the classic sociological writing to find the central traditional concerns and interests of sociology as an intellectual discipline. In brief we ask: “What did the founding fathers say? ” The historical approach has some important qualities. It offers us the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of the past. It enables us to understand issues which can be grasped only if we comprehend their background.
Truly, people may read the same history quite differently. However, the historical method runs the risk of making our thinking rigid, since tradition may be poorly suited to deal with emerging problems of the present and the future. 3. 3 The Empirical Approach By this method we study current sociological work to discover those subjects to which the discipline gives most attention. In other words, we ask: “What are contemporary sociologists doing? ” This method is least ambiguous; it requires some form of counting. Of course, what contemporary sociologists mphasize in their work may be simply a passing fancy, having little connection with the important work of the past or little promise for the future. In the opinion of Pitirim Sorokin, “current sociological pre-occupations are nothing but fads and foibles” and, in the view of C. Wright Mills, they indicate a decline of “sociological imagination”. 3. 4 The Analytical Approach With this method we arbitrarily divide and set margins (delimit) some larger subject matter, and allocate it among different disciplines. We ask “what does reason suggest? This method is least troublesome. A few lines of definition, a few more paragraphs of explanation and we have it. This is a time-honoured path followed continuously since it was first marked out by Auguste Comte, the father of Sociology. But the decree defining the subject matter of human learning has none of the force of law. Scholars and scientists go where their interest lead them; they study what they like when they wish. This approach is beautiful, but a poor guide to what is really happening. 20 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 3. 5
A General Outline of the Subject Matter A General Outline of the Subject Matter of Sociology embraces: I. (a) (b) (c) II. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) III. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) IV. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) Sociological Analysis: This includes Human Culture and Society Sociological Perspective Scientific Method in Social Science. Primary Units of Social Life: This covers Social Acts and Social Relationships The Individual Personality Groups – Ethnic and Class Communities: Urban and Rural Associations and Organization Population and Human Ecology Society.
Basic Social Institutions: This includes The Family and Kinship Economic Institutions Political and Legal Institutions Religious Institutions Educational and Scientific Institutions Recreational and Welfare Institutions Aesthetic and Expressive Institutions. Fundamental Social Process: This covers Differentiation and Stratification Cooperation, Accommodation, Assimilation Social Conflicts (Revolutions and War) Communication (Opinion formation, Expression and Change) Socialization and Industrialization Social Evaluation (the study of value) Social Control Social Deviance (crime, suicide, etc. ) Social Integration Social Change. 1 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 4. 0 CONCLUSION The position of the founding fathers of Sociology offered opportunity to contemporary Sociologists to benefit form the wisdom of the past. Beyond the past, the contemporary Sociologists combined the benefits of qualitative-quantitative approach to the subject matter of Sociology. The deeds of contemporary Sociologists therefore broaden the horizon of having more than a single approach to the subject matter. The place of reasoning rather than the wisdom of the past or the deeds of the present equally had it place in the study of the subject matter of Sociology.
On the final analysis, the approached rather than divide Sociologists enriched Sociological tradition. 5. 0 SUMMARY In this unit, efforts were made to clearly present the different methods used by Sociologists in approaching the subject matter of Sociology. Also, proponents and criticisms of each of the methods were presented. On the final analysis, the gains or contributions of each method were presented. A general outline of the subject matter of Sociology in the unit is no doubt very instructive. 6. 0 1. 2. 3. TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT
Mention the methods adopted by Sociologists in the presentation of the subject matter of Sociology. Explain the differences between each of the approaches adapted to the subject matter of Sociology. Highlight the central concern(s) and criticisms of each of the method used by Sociologists. 7. 0 REFERENCES/FUTHER READINGS Haralambo, M. and M. Holborn and R. Heald (2002): Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. London, HarperCollins Publishers Limited Henslin, J. M. (2000). Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. Boston, Allyn and Bacon. Macionis, J. J. (2000). Society: The Basics.
London, Prentice-Hall International Ltd. 22 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY MODULE 2 Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 4 Unit 5 Founding Fathers Of Sociology Perspectives Of Sociology The Scientific Study Of Society Sociological Analysis Social Interaction and Processes UNIT 1 CONTENTS 1. 0 2. 0 3. 0 FOUNDING FATHERS OF SOCIOLOGY 4. 0 5. 0 6. 0 7. 0 Introduction Objective Main Content 3. 1 Auguste Comte and Positivism 3. 2 Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism 3. 3 Karl Marx and Class Conflict 3. 4 Emile Durkheim and Social Integration 3. 5 Max Weber and Protestant Ethics 3. 6 Talcott Parsons and C.
Wright Mills: Theory vs Reforms Conclusion Summary Tutor Marked Assignment References/Further Readings 1. 0 INTRODUCTION Several persons by their great contributions to the origin and development of Sociology became its founding fathers. It is noteworthy that each of these great Sociologists contributed by adopting a central theme, phrase or concept which became a focal point at the birth of Sociology. From the adoption of the name ‘Sociology’ through it peculiar imagination to theoretical formulation, forerunners and founding fathers has emerged. This unit examines the renounced founding fathers of Sociology. . 0 OBJECTIVES On completion of this unit, the learner should be able to: • • 23 List the founding fathers of Sociology Identify their specific contributions CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY • Describe the latest shift in emphasis among founding fathers of Sociology 3. 0 MAIN CONTENT Emphasis in this section is on the major founding fathers of Sociology and their main contribution to sociology. 3. 1 Auguste Comte and Positivism The idea of applying the scientific method to the social world is known as “positivism”, apparently was first proposed by Auguste Comte (17981857).
With the French Revolution still fresh in his mind, Comte left the small town in which he had grown up and moved to Paris. The change he experienced, combined with those France underwent in the revolution, led Comte to become interested in what holds society together. What creates social order, he wondered, instead of anarchy or chaos? And then, once society does become set on a particular course, what causes it to change? As he considered these questions, Comte concluded that the right way to answer them was to apply the scientific method to social life. Just as this method had revealed the aw of gravity, so too, it would uncover the laws that underlie society. Comte called this new science “sociology” – the study of society. From the Greek “logos” (study of) and the Latin “socius” (comparison or being with others). Comte stressed that this new science (Sociology) not only would discover social principles but also would apply them to social reforms, to making society a better place to live. To Comte, however, applying the scientific method to social life meant practicing what might be called “armchair philosophy” – drawing conclusions from informal observation of social life.
Since Comte insists that we must observe and classify human activities in order to uncover society’s fundamental laws, and because he developed this idea and coined the term ‘Sociology’, Comte is often credited as being the founder of Sociology. 3. 2 Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), a native of England, is sometimes called the second founder of sociology. Unlike Comte, Spencer stood firmly against social reform. In fact, he was convinced that no one should 24 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY intervene in the evolution of society.
Spencer was convinced that societies evolve from lower (‘barbarian’) to higher (‘civilized’) forms. As generation pass, he said, the most capable and intelligent (“the fittest”) members of the society survive, while the less capable die out. Thus overtime, societies steadily improve. Helping the lower classes interfere this natural process is discouraged. The fittest members will produce a more advanced society unless misguided people get in the way and let the less fit survive. Spencer called this principle “the survival of the fittest”.
Although Spencer coined this phrase; it usually is attributed to his contemporary, Charles Darwin, who proposed that organisms evolve over time as they adapt to their environment. Because they were so similar to Darwin ideas, Spencer’s view of the evolution of societies became known as “social Darwinism”. Like Comte, Spencer was more of a social philosopher than a sociologist. Also like Comte, Spencer did not conduct scientific studies, but simply developed ideas about society. 3. 3 Karl Marx and Class Conflict The influence of Karl Marx (1818-1883) on world history has been so great.
Marx, who came to England after being exiled from his native Germany for proposing revolution, believed that the engine of human history is “class conflict”. He said that the bourgeoisie (the controlling class of capitalists, those who own the means to produce wealth – capital, land, factories and machines) are locked in conflict with the proletariat (the exploited class, the mass of workers who do not own the means of production). This bitter struggle can end only when members of the working class unite in revolution and throw off their chain of bondage.
The result will be a classless society, one free of exploitation, in which everyone will work according to their abilities and receive according to their needs. Marxism is not the same as communism. Although Marx supported revolution as the only way that the workers could gain control of society, he did not develop the political system called communism. 3. 4 Emile Durkheim and Social Integration The primary professional goal of Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), who grew up in France, was to get sociology recognized as a separate academic discipline. Up to this time, sociology was viewed as part of history and economics.
Durkheim achieved this goal when he received 25 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY the first academic appointment in sociology, at the University of Bordeaux in 1887. Durkheim had another goal to show how social forces affect people’s behaviour. To accomplish this, he conducted rigorous research. Comparing the suicide rate of several European countries, Durkehim (1897/1966) found that each country’s suicide rate was different and that each remained remarkably stable year after year. He also found that different groups within a country had different suicide rates and that these, too, remained stable from year to year.
From this, Durkheim drew the insightful conclusion that suicide is not simply a matter of individuals here and deciding to take their lives for personal reasons. Rather, social factors underlie suicide and this is what keeps those rates fairly constant yea after year. Durkheim identified social integration, the degree to which people are tied to their social group, as a key social factor in suicide. He concluded that people with weaker social ties are more likely to commit suicide. From Durkheim’s study of suicide, there is the principle that was central in all of his research.
Human behaviour cannot be understood simply in individualistic terms; always, we must examine the social forces that affect people’s lives. If we look at human behaviour (such as suicide) only in individualistic terms, we miss its social basis. Like Comte, Durkheim also proposed that sociologists intervene in society. He suggested that new social groups be created. The family and these groups would meet people’s need for a sense of belonging. 3. 5 Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic Max Weber (1864-1920), a German sociologist and a contemporary of Durkheim, also held professorship in the new academic discipline of sociology.
With Durkheim and Max, Weber is one of the most influential Sociologists. Weber disagreed with Marx’s claim that economics is the central force in social change. According to Weber, that role belongs to religion. Weber (1904) theorized that Roman Catholic belief system encouraged Roman Catholics to hold on to traditional ways of life, while the Protestant belief system encouraged its members to embrace change. Protestantism, he said, undermined people’s spiritual security. Roman Catholics believed that because they were church members, they were on their road to heaven.
But Protestants who did not share this belief, turned to outside “signs” that they were in God’s will Financial success became the major sign that God was on their side. Consequently, 26 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY Protestants began to live frugal lives, saving their money and investing the surplus in order to make even more. This said Weber brought about the birth of capitalism. Weber called this self-denying approach to life the “Protestant ethic”. He termed the readiness to invest capital in order to make more money “the spirit of capitalism”.
To test his theory, Weber compared the extent of capitalism in Roman Catholic and Protestant countries. In line with this theory, he found that capitalism was more likely to flourish in Protestant countries. 3. 6 Talcott Parsons and C. Wright Mills: Theory Versus Reform During the 1940s, the emphasis shifted from social reforms to social theory. Talcott Parsons (1902-1979), for example, developed abstract models of society that greatly influenced a generation of sociologists. Parsons’s detailed models of how the parts of society harmoniously work together did nothing to stimulate social activism.
C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) developed the theoretical abstractions of this period and in 1956, he urged sociologists to get back to social reform. He saw the coalescing of interests on the part of a group he called “the power elite” – the top leaders of business, politics, and the military – as an imminent threat to freedom. Shortly after Mills’s death, fueled by the Vietnam War, the United States entered a turbulent era of the 1960s and 1970s. Interest in social activism was sparked, and Mills’s idea became popular among a new generation of sociologists.
The apparent contradiction of these two aims – analyzing society versus working toward its reform – creates a tension in sociology that still is evident today. Some sociologists believe that their proper role is to analyze some aspects of society and publish their findings in sociology journals. Others say this is not enough – sociologists have an obligation to use their expertise to try to make society a better place in which to live. 4. 0 CONCLUSION From it inception, Sociology has developed approaches to the scientific and/or systematic study of the society.
It contributions to the understanding of the social forces within the society as contained in the works of the founding fathers cannot be over-emphasized. The development within the discipline of Sociology in contemporary time is a product of the effort of the founding fathers. 27 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY 5. 0 SUMMARY In this unit, the roles founding fathers in the origin and development of Sociology have been emphasized. Specific references were made to their contributions to the development of a unique approach to the study of society.
Through their efforts and those of contemporary Sociologists, the discipline has developed a tradition that had impact on other disciplines that showed interest in the study of man in society. 6. 0 1. TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT Mention five (5) of the contributions of Auguste Comte to the origin of Sociology. Explain how Durkheim’s work enhanced the development of Sociology. In five (5) sentences, compare the work of Karl Marx and Max Weber. 2. 3. 7. 0 REFERENCES/FUTHER READINGS Haralambo, M. and M. Holborn and R. Heald (2002): Sociology: Themes and Perspectives.
London, HarperCollins Publishers Limited Heinslin, J. M. (2000). Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. Boston. Allyn and Bacon. Macionis, J. J. (2000). Society The Basics. London Prentice-Hall International Ltd. Schaefar, R. T. (2004). Sociology: A Brief Introduction. Boston. McGraw-Hill. 28 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY UNIT 2 CONTENTS 1. 0 2. 0 3. 0 PERSPECTIVES OF SOCIOLOGY 4. 0 5. 0 6. 0 7. 0 Introduction Objectives Main Content 3. 1 The Sociological Perspective 3. 2 Seeing the Broader Social Context 3. 3 The Contrasts or Characteristics of Sociological Perspective 3. Benefits of Sociological Perspective Conclusion Summary Tutor Marked Assignment References/Further Readings 1. 0 INTRODUCTION As individuals, we all know a great deal about ourselves and about the societies in which we live. We tent to think we have a good understanding of why we act as we do without needing Sociologists to tell us. To some degree, this may be true. Many of the things we do in our day to day life, we do because we understand the social requirements involved. Yet, there are definite boundaries to such selfknowledge, and one of the main tasks of Sociology to show us what these are.
The sociological perspectives allow us to see that many events that seem to concern only the individuals actually reflect larger issues. In this unit, the Sociological perspectives are explained. 2. 0 OBJECTIVES On completion of this unit, learner should be able to: • • • Understand the broader social context of individuals and groups Know the contrast that are presented in Sociological perspectives Know the benefits of Sociological perspectives 3. 0 3. 1 MAIN CONTENT The Sociological Perspective Human interaction is the subject matter of sociology and both sociologist and the layperson look at the same reality.
But they look at it in different ways. 29 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY The sociological perspective looks beyond commonly accepted or officially defined goals of human behaviour. It recognizes that human behaviour can be interpreted at different levels, and that some motives of human behaviour are hidden, rather than conscious. The rise of modern sociology is especially marked by certain circumstances of western civilization that brought about a situation in which the accepted official and authoritative interpretations of societal and cultural goals were severely shaken.
Sociology arose as a way of analyzing these tremendous reversals of the status quo. Sociologists have also looked at life from the view of another segment of society. The segment consists of the marginal people, those who deviate from the officially “respectable” path – the prostitutes, beggars, drunkards, criminals among others. Sociologists search beyond the official explanation that such people are “deviates” and ask whether perhaps the “respectable” persons may play a part in forming the “deviates” way of life. The sociological perspective develops best in a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
New ideas have always seemed to catch on first in the large cities where people were exposed to others who came from far away places and who represented strange cultural customs. As our societies become more and more urban, we begin to appreciate other ways of thinking and acting, and we shed some of the provincial idea that “our way is the best way”. The open-mindedness that comes from maintaining a world view of human life is essential to sociology. Sociology could not exist in a society that claims the absolute “rightness” or “truth” of its values.
Traditional societies have made this claim, and thus their citizen have had a static idea of what they are and to what they can aspire. In traditional societies, people have definite and permanent identities. But we live in modern societies, in which conflicting values are held and in which values change rapidly. We can, and frequently do, change jobs, social position, life styles, and friends. So we look at the world from many points of view and this multiple perspective forces us to say, “This is true; but that is also true”. Truth becomes relative to time, place and circumstances.
Only when values are relative can we appreciate the sociological perspective. This perspective can help alleviate the anxiety or “culture shock”. 3. 2 Seeing the Broader Social Context The sociological perspective stresses the sociological context in which people live. It examines how these contexts influence people’s live. At the center of the sociological perspective is the question of how people are influenced by their society. 30 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY To find out why people do what they do, sociologists look at “social location”, the corner in life that people occupy because of where they are located in the society.
Sociologists look at jobs, income, education, gender and race as being significant. For example, growing up as a male or a female influences not only our aspirations, but also how we feel about ourselves and how we relate with others. Sociologist C. Wright Mills (1959) noted that the sociological perspective enables us to grasp the connection between history and biography. By history, Mills meant that each society is located in a broad stream of events. Because of this, each society has specific characteristics – e. g. role assignment by gender. By biography, Mills referred to the individual’s specific experiences in society.
In short, then, people don’t do what they do because of inherited internal mechanisms, such as instincts. Rather, external influences (our experiences) become part of our thinking and motivations. The society in which we grow up and our particular corners in that society, lie at the centre of our behaviour. 3. 3 The Contrasts Perspective or Characteristics of Sociological The sociological perspective, which is at the heart of the discipline, has presented insight into social reality in the following contrasts which has also become its characteristics. i.
Seeing the General in the Particular Poter Berger (1963) characterized the sociological perspective as “seeing the general in particular”. That is, sociology helps us see general patterns in the behaviour of particular individuals. Although every individual is unique, society acts differently on various categories of people. For example, children compared to adults, or women compared to men. Therefore, to think sociologically is to see that the kind of people we are shape our life experiences. The society has power and demonstrates this to affect our actions, thoughts, and feelings.
Society attaches different meanings to different ages, therefore children differ from adults not just in biological maturity. ii. Seeing the Strange in the Familiar Using Sociological perspective amounts to seeing the strange in the familiar. Looking at life sociologically requires giving up the familiar idea that human behaviour is simply a matter of what people decide to do, in favour of the initial strange notion that we are creatures of society. Consider the seemingly personal matter of deciding to change one’s 31 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY ame, a practice that is becoming common in Nigeria. But are the names people adopt a matter of personal choice or are social forces at work? The reality of a multi-cultural society may be responsible for some newly adopted names. iii. Seeing Individual in Social Context Perhaps the most compelling evidence of how social forces affect human behaviour comes from the study of suicide. What could be a more personal “choice” than taking one’s own life? But Emile Durkheim, a pioneer of sociology, showed that social forces are at work even in an isolated act of self-destruction.
From official records in and around his native France, Durkheim found some categories of people were more likely than others to take their own lives. Specifically, he found that men, Protestants, wealthy people and the unmarried each had much higher suicide rate than women, catholics, the poor and the married people. Durkheim explained the differences in terms of “social integration”. Categories of people with strong social ties had low suicide rate while more individualistic people had high suicide rates. Some situations stimulate sociological insights for everyone.
For example, social diversity prompts us to wonder why other people think and act differently than we do. As we interact with people from social background that initially seem strange, we grasp the power of society to shape our lives. 3. 4 Benefits of the Sociological Perspective Applying sociological perspective to our daily lives benefits us in four ways. i. The sociological perspective helps us critically assess the truth of commonly held assumptions. We may realize through this perspective that ideas we have taken for granted are not, in fact, true.
The sociological perspective helps us see the opportunities, and constraints in our lives. Sociological thinking leads me to see that, in the game of life, we have a say in how we play our cards, but it is society that deals us the hand. Also, the more we understand the game, the better players we will be. The sociological perspective empowers us to be active members of our society. The more we understand about how society 32 ii. iii. CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY operates, the more active citizens we become. Evaluating any aspect of social life depends on the ability to identify the social forces and assess their consequences. v. The sociological perspective helps us live in a culturally diverse world. Like people everywhere, we tend to view our way of life as “right”, “natural”, and “better”. But sociological perspective prompts us to think critically about all ways of life – including our own. 4. 0 CONCLUSION Although, both the Sociologists and lay person look at the same reality, they look at it in different ways. Sociologists look at life from another segment of society and the context in which people do what they do, the corner in life that they occupy as members of the society. Since things are not always hat they seem, Sociological perspectives examine reality in its contrast to its ordinary form. By this, critical assessment is made of the truth of commonly held assumptions. 5. 0 SUMMARY In this unit, the Sociological perspectives were discussed. Attempts were made to present social reality beyond it mere appearance. Furthermore, the characteristics and benefits of sociological perspectives were presented. The unit therefore gave a penetrating approach to social interaction beyond the day-to-day and taken-for-granted understanding of lay persons. 6. 0 1. 2. 3. TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT
Give a concise description of the Sociological perspective Explain how the broader social context influences peoples’ lives Highlight the characteristics of Sociological perspective 7. 0 REFERENCES/FUTHER READINGS Giddens, A. and M. Duneier (2000): Introduction to Sociology. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc Igbo, M. E. (2003): Basic Sociology. Enugu, CIDJAP Press Olurode, L. and O. Soyombo (2003 ed. ): Sociology for Beginners. Lagos, John West Publications. 33 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY UNIT 3 CONTENTS 1. 0 2. 0 3. 0 THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF SOCIETY 4. 0 5. 0 6. 0 7. 0
Introduction Objectives Main Content 3. 1 The Study of Society as a Science 3. 2 Laws in Social Sciences 3. 3 Social Sciences as Natural Science 3. 4 The Nature of Scientific Explanation Conclusion Summary Tutor Marked Assignment References/Further Readings 1. 0 INTRODUCTION Although questions have been raised whether social sciences are in the real sense scientific, the doubt is cleared by the fact that social sciences employ the method and obtain the same result as other sciences. It is obvious that the natural realities differ from the social realities, but the adoptions of systematic methods are common to both.
The social sciences have their own laws, generalizations that are based on observation, control and prediction that have become established. The genuineness of social explanations coupled with laws that are not accidental which have gained acceptance among practitioners made the science of society the natural science of life, interaction and product of living. 2. 0 OBJECTIVES On completion of this unit, learner should be able to: • • • • Understand why the study of society is a science Identify laws in the social sciences Compare social and natural sciences Understand the nature of scientific explanation 3. 3. 1 MAIN CONTENT The Study Of Society As A Science A very important question that has been answered from various standpoints is whether Social science disciplines are sciences. Answers 34 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY to this question have been built upon a comparison between our understanding of the natural world and our understanding of the social world. On the final analysis if social sciences are science at all, it was because they employ the same methods and reach the same sort of results as other sciences. There are three major orthodox view of the goals and tactics of the natural sciences: i.
The aim of science is to produce general laws which are universal, i. e. which apply to all events or things of a certain kind, which are precisely stated i. e. it says exactly what will happen and which have a wide scope of possibility; Such laws should enable us to predict and control events i. e. they should form the basis for a reliable social technology; The search for such laws should be carried on systematically and incrementally i. e. each generation should be able to inherit the knowledge gained by the previous generation, and should be able to build on it in turn. ii. iii. 3. 2 Laws in Social Sciences
It is no gainsaying that social sciences have few generalizations of their own which can stand compassion in the natural sciences, for examples, The Economics law of demand and supply has its limitations and exemptions. There may be no relationship between socio-economic status and choice of political parties etc. However, there are six types of generalizations in social science in general and sociology in particular. They are: i. Empirical correction (relationship) between concrete social phenomenon (e. g. urban life and divorce rate, socio-economic status and area or type of residence or propensity to consume and save).
Generalization formulating the conditions under which institutions or other social formations arise (e. g. various accounts of the origin of capitalism). Generalization asserting that changes in given institutions are regularly associated with changes in other institutions (e. g. association between changes in class structure and other social changes in Marxist theory). ii. iii. 35 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY iv. Generalizations assorting rhythmical re-occurrence of phase – sequences of various kinds (attempt to distinguish the ‘stages’ or economic development).
Generalizations describing the main trends in the evolution of humanity as a whole (e. g. Comte’s law of three stages, the Marxist theory of development from slavery though feudalism, capitalism, socialism and communism). Laws stating the implication of assumptions regarding human behaviours. v. vi. These generalizations can be classified according to their range, level, and the extent to which they can be validated (or proved) viz: (a) Those generalization of type (i) are empirical generalizations that are well established.
Those generalizations of type (ii) and (iii) are formulations of universal laws relating to trends. Those generalizations of types (iv) and (v) are not real historical statements and interpretations. The generalization of type (vi) sometimes occur only in economics. (b) (c) (d) In sociology, it is this very assumption about human behaviour which is investigated. 3. 3 Social Sciences as Natural Sciences There are four important reasons why some writers think that social sciences must in the end come to resemble some branch or other of the natural sciences. They are: i.
There is no ground for general skepticism about the description and up to a point the explanation of individual items of behaviour. For example, even if it is not always true that man will do more work if they are paid their wages, there is no real difficulty about knowing in particular case whether they will or not. We constantly make assumptions abut the causes of social events which turn out to be correct and some which we do not test, but 36 ii. CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY we certainly believe to be true. For example, calling you a thief will make you angry except you don’t know the meaning. ii. There are a great many cases where we make things happen in a predictable and regular fashion. For example, increasing the number of police in a given area will reduce the number of crime committed. Also, we encourage people to go on by smiling approvingly at their actions. Offers are made to induce people to take one action or the other. A vast amount of social life would simply not occur if people were unable to get things to happen as they desire. There are some striking regularities in social life, even if they are hard to explain and hard to make any practical use of.
For example, stable accident rate over years, are not caused by any natural law, but it is reliable enough to plan next year’s casuality services. iv. All these things have made many writers simply to assume that social science was or soon would be the natural sciences of life. 3. 4 The Nature of Scientific Explanation The following are six views offered by scientific explanation. i. All genuine explanation is casual, law-governed and deduction, and operates by bringing event to be explained under appropriate law of nature.
If we want to assert that this event caused that event, we have to rule out the possibility that the first event could have occurred, without the second following, i. e. whenever an event of first sort occurs, an event of the second as follows: Generalizations or general laws must not be ‘accidental’ generalizations. For example: “all the people in this room are called smith” – this is accidental generalization – what happens if a Jones is in the room? “all the people who ate two grams of cyanide died of it” is of a law-like status because it provides a connection between event cited, i. e. ating cyanide and death that instantly follow consumption. It has the capacity to support counterfactual judgement. It is entirely descriptive i. e. it neither presupposes nor supports any particular views about the goodness or badness of the status of affairs described. All scientific explanation can do is to show things work; it does not justify its workings. What science has to ii. iii. 37 CHS 217 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY say about the world is flatly final in the sense that ones everything that can be explained within a given theory has been explained, explanations have run out. iv.
There is a distinction between the origin of a theory and a law and its truth or acceptability which must be absolutely respected. It does not matter who thought up the theory or what prompted him/her to do so; That matters is whether the theory or the hypothesis stands up to testing against. (Since explanations are governed by laws because the connection between the statements of the law(s) and initial conditions on the one hand and the description of the event to be explained on the other is a deductive one, it cannot happen that a true law and a true statement of initial conditions will yield a false statement as a conclusion). . The science are value from all sorts of moral or other values may impel us to engage in research (or scientific enquiry) they make no difference to sciences own standards for success and failure. Successful science produces and test hypotheses about the working of the natural world. It explains its failures